Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

The one area Beauden Barrett needs to improve

One of the few disappointing aspects of the All Blacks' performance against the Springboks in Durban last weekend was the failure of Beauden Barrett's right boot to find the goalposts on a consistent basis.

Brilliant elsewhere, with two tries, two try assists and a list of other
impressive statistics, Barrett was successful with only three of his seven shots at goal.

His overall efforts in cutting the Boks to pieces with the ball, or by passing it to others, cemented his position as arguably the best first-five in the world, but until he consistently finds the form that he often displays in the difficult conditions of his home pitch at Westpac Stadium, he can't be considered the perfect 10.

It is, as the All Blacks might say, a work in progress, and nobody will be more frustrated at his comparative inaccuracy than Barrett.

Despite dominating the first half, the All Blacks led the Boks only 12-9 at the break, with four converted tries in the final 10 minutes of the test at Kings Park blowing the score out to a record 57-15.

Barrett led that second-half attacking charge, but there were moments when the Boks kept chipping away during the early exchanges which suggested an upset the other way wasn't out of the question.

The constant desire to better themselves has helped drive the All Blacks to 17 consecutive victories and the brink of a world record for a winning streak by a tier one nation, so Barrett's goalkicking in their most recent test - and during the entire Rugby Championship (he has an overall success rate of 65 per cent) - will be an area that can clearly be improved.

But, with a test against Australia at Eden Park next Saturday and a new record looming, the coaches are unlikely to be worried about that aspect of Barrett's game, important though it is.

With Morne Steyn kicking five from five at Kings Park despite the swirling wind inside the stadium, the difference in accuracy was obvious, but Barrett's misses are likely to be put down to just a bad day.

Barrett has previously worked on kicking through the ball, and that will probably form the basis of his training once he and the team assemble in Auckland on Tuesday.

His attacking talents are obvious. After a perfect Rugby Championship in which the All Blacks won all six of their tests with bonus points, Barrett led the way in running metres with the ball - 395m (he ran for 124m at Kings Park) - and defenders beaten (24).

He carried the ball 70 times (20 at Kings Park), second only to the Pumas' Facundo Isa's 85.

The 25-year-old is a special talent, and if and when his goalkicking comes together, he will be a great one.

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